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Judge: Technology shortened Arizona Iced Tea trial

Co-founders of the Woodbury-based maker of AriZona Iced

Co-founders of the Woodbury-based maker of AriZona Iced Tea products, Beverage Marketing USA, are fighting in court over hundreds of millions of dollars. (March 21, 2012) (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

The legal battle between the co-founders of AriZona Iced Tea has become epic with several lawsuits and counterclaims airing accusations of greed and bad behavior, but the use of technology in Supreme Court Justice Timothy S. Driscoll’s MIneola courtroom helped keep one part of this war to a minimum.

On Tuesday, Driscoll thanked the attorneys for both sides for placing much of their exhibits -- more than a hundred thousand pages -- on flash drives and wiring the Mineola courtroom to project pieces of evidence onto screens. Eliminating the usual flipping through binders and documents drastically cut down on the length of the trial.

“Although it was 18 days, I think it would have been far longer had it proceeded in the typical paper fashion,” Driscoll said at the end of closing arguments.

While use of flash drives in federal courts has become common, in state courts judges using technology in such a way varies widely.

“You can imagine that, you know, 20 years ago this was a cigarette lighter,” Driscoll said, referring to a flash drive. “Now it is all of the exhibits in a hundred million dollar case.”

Tags: Arizona Iced Tea , business

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